The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time

The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time

Paperback

By (author) Simon Winchester

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  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Format: Paperback | 414 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 208mm x 23mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2004
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0312423373
  • ISBN 13: 9780312423377
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 84,535

Product description

Rising in the mountains of the Tibetan border, the Yangtze River, the symbolic heart of China pierces 3,900 miles of rugged country before debouching into the oily swells of the East China Sea. Connecting China's heartland cities with the volatile coastal giant, Shanghai, it has also historically connected China to the outside world through its nearly one thousand miles of navigable waters. To travel those waters is to travel back in history, to sense the soul of China, and Simon Winchester takes us along with him as he encounters the essence of China--its history and politics, its geography and climate as well as engage in its culture, and its people in remote and almost inaccessible places. This is travel writing at its best: lively, informative, and thoroughly enchanting.

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Author information

Simon Winchester is the author of "The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, "and "Krakatoa," among many other titles. He lives in Massachusetts, New York City, and the Western Isles of Scotland.

Review quote

"Winchester is a storyteller...romantic enough to make us yearn to be there with him." --"The Washington Post" "Winchester is an exceptionally engaging guide...at home everywhere, ready for anything, full of gusto, and seemingly omnivorous curiosity." --"The New York Times Book Review" "Another home run." --"Los Angeles Times" "At one time or another, many of us, I suspect, have wanted to be Simon Winchester, to lead a life that was equal parts Jan Morris and James Bond." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "Winchester is an exquisite writer and a deft anecdoteur." --Christopher Buckley

Back cover copy

It is the symbolic heart of China. Rising in the mountains of the Tibetan border, it pierces 3,900 miles of rugged country before debouching into the oily swells of the East China Sea. Its path embraces every geographic feature and almost every ethnic group, and its banks are home to both scenic splendor and foul industrial pollution. Connecting China's heartland cities with that volatile coastal giant Shanghai, it has also historically connected China to the outside world through its nearly one thousand miles of navigable waters. And to travel up those waters is to travel back in history, to sense the soul of China. Long off-limits to foreigners, the far reaches of the Yangtze are still off-limits to most tourists and travelers simply by dint of the difficulty in traversing the terrain. But, for Simon Winchester, traveling the length of this mighty river was a lifelong dream and, together with a Chinese companion, he set out to do just that. The result is this unforgettable portrait of China. Endlessly curious, urbane, witty, and knowledgeable, Winchester introduces us to a world we might otherwise have missed. To follow him on his adventures up the Yangtze is to experience the essence of China - to absorb its flavors as well as learn its history and politics, to feel its geography and climate as well as engage in its culture, and to meet up en route with uncommon people in remote and almost inaccessible places. This is travel writing at its best: lively and informative, amusing and thoroughly engaging.